10 Reasons to Blog About Your Ancestors

September 4, 1909Blogging, some people laugh at those of us who blog. Let’s face it, most of us started blogging as a way to keep track of our research or to have a central location for our family to read about what our most recent discovery was. There are so many more reasons to blog about your ancestors, this is my list of 10 Reasons to Blog About Your Ancestors.

  1. Its cousin bait! Do you have an ancestor with a unique last name? If so, there is a chance that someone is out there, googling that name to see if they can find any information on it. For me it was the Mlinarcsik name. It is rare and because of that, I found a new reader and possible cousin. We are still working on that.
  2. Making friends with common interests. Does your family get that glazed over look when you mention a deceased relative? They just know you are going to speak forever about stuff they would rather not listen to. With a blog, you never get that glazed over look. Instead, you will find others with a common interest that are excited to read about each discovery you make.
  3. Research Assistance. Do you have a brick wall that you cannot get past? Blog about it, include all the information you have and what resources you have used to attempt to break it down. You will be surprised at where your next clue might come from! For me, a reader from another country broke down my O’Connell brick wall and I am very grateful for her assistance.
  4. If you do not tell the story of your ancestors, who will? No one! They want to be remembered. We all want to know that our life mattered. They are no different.
  5. It is a great place to work out each family line. Sometimes we need to look at information a few different ways to actually see everything that is there.
  6. A perfect place to transcribe your records. Maybe someone who witnessed the legal proceedings of your ancestors has a genealogist in their family. What if they are googling their ancestors name and find you? You can make a connection with a family that already had a connection to your family. You both might find pictures of each others family photographs.
  7. Share what you have learned. Did you attend a conference or lecture recently? Did one of the lectures stick out for you? Blog about what it taught you and how you used it to assist in your research. Others want to learn as well and maybe they could not afford the conference.
  8. Someone else might have the family bible you are looking for! We all hope that one day someone is going to contact us with the family bible. What if someone picked your family bible up at an antique store? You would want them to find you quickly, right?
  9. Meet family you did not know about. We talked about cousin bait above and how it is a great way to get people reading your blog. But, wouldn’t you want to meet that cousin of Uncle Fred’s wife? She just might have some family photo’s that she will let you scan or she might have family stories that she has been patiently waiting to share with someone who wants to know about the family.
  10. Someone else holds the key to your family mystery or secret. Again, we go back to cousin bait or meeting strangers that turn out to be family members, it is an important process for genealogists. For me, it was my grandfather’s cousin (who knew nothing about him) that provided me with a bit more information about Marie O’Connell who happened to be buried with all of my O’Connell relatives in Hudson Falls, NY. I thought she might be related, but it was possible that is was a coincidence as well. The cousin had a picture with dates listed on the back, and Marie was on there. She had no clue who most of the people were and I was able to provide her with that information.

These are all great reasons to start blogging about your ancestors! So, what are you waiting for?


If you are interested in other Top 10 lists, please see Many Little Blessings each Tuesday where bloggers of different subjects link together all of their lists.



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  1. I love this! It will be my new “Genealogical 10 Commandments”! I blog and wonder if I am really just talking to myself and then lo and behold a month or two down the line, some relative (who I either know and haven’t spoken to in years or have never met) will make a comment. I then realize it is all worthwhile — well at least for a month or two, until I start thinking I am talking to myself again!

    1. Colleen, that’s awesome that a cousin contact you so soon after starting. Just remember that the blogging is on your schedule and when you have something to say, you have a venue for it. It’s just bread crumbs…..
      Also, if you have not already done so register your blog with http://www.geneabloggers.com.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

  2. I’m a dripping-wet newby to blogging, and got into it by making comments on others’ posts, particularly on G+, then received a lot of encouragement from other bloggers about getting into the blogging pool! (to keep the water analogy going…) Your reasons are all of mine too! I let my family and cousins know about my latest blog by posting on Facebook as well where they tend to congregate and chat about their daily thoughts… Thanks for posting – good ideas!

    1. Celia,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I am glad that through your commenting on other posts and G+ conversation you were inspired to start your own blog. Keep it going, at your own pace and you will see results with finding relatives. It took me about 2 years before I finally had my first cousin connection thought the blog.

      I look forward to reading your blog as well.


  3. Terri, I like your list of reasons. I have been trying to contact a lost relative by email and snail mail, and I’ve been waiting for an answer (or non-answer) before I blogged again. But your post has persuaded me that I should do a “meanwhile” blog. There are other lost relatives I could try to find, mysteries I could try to solve. Sharing my unknowns for “research assistance” or even for the “IDG Monthly Mystery” would be rewarding to blog about — even if no more information comes, that in itself would tell me something. Thank you for this inspirational blog!

    1. Thanks, Mariann. I too have a non responsive cousin, I might write another letter to him. His direct ancestor lived with our great great grand father. Hoping he might have some stories. I definitely like the idea of a meanwhile post, let us know how it goes.

  4. Thanks for writing about this! I started a blog this summer to document my Grand Aunt’s massive, non-digitized collection of genealogical research to attempt to make it accessible to everyone in the family, and hopefully to others as well. I will be keeping all of these reasons in mind as I continue my journey through her work.

    Thank you!

    1. Jodi, What a way to document your great aunts collection. I am so glad this post was helpful to you. I look forward to reading about the collection you are going through.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.


      1. Thanks Terri! Its a daunting task, and I’ve been very slow about the current binder since these are people that, while no longer with us, people knew them… Hopefully I’ll be a bit more steady once I get past this group and farther back in the lines. I freeze up right now since I didn’t *know* these people myself, I don’t want to step on any toes!


  5. Great list Terri! I’ve met ‘new’ cousins and reconnected with ‘old’ cousins via my blog. I love it! Writing a post makes me go back through my research and sometimes I notice something that I had not noticed before. Plus, writing helps me get my thoughts on paper, maybe in a more coherent fashion than just my (sometimes) cryptic notes. I’ve written about a few family mysteries in the hope that someday someone will provide me with the key.

    1. Thanks, Catherine.

      There are so many reasons to continue to blog about our ancestors and I am so glad this list is confirming that for many bloggers. I hope that some will use it as a reason to start their own genealogy blog!

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, it is greatly appreciated.

  6. Excellent post yet again Terri, I especially like the cousin bait, I have added a few of my ancestors with unusual names to my website in the hope that someone else out there might know them. If not ah well at least one of their stories (as we can never know them all) was told.


    1. Thanks Sharon!

      Cousin bait is important, sometimes it can be the only way to move past our brick walls. I hope adding the unusual names help bring new hits to your website!

      1. My ancestors liked to change their names a lot, my mothers father his name was Thomas but he went as Tony, my fathers father his surname was Williams, but her went as Slater. My father’s grand father his name was Jeremiah but he went as George Bernard. Then there was Ann, who called herself Bessie Rosette Gertrude. They didn’t want to make it easy on us.


  7. My ancestors liked to change their names a lot, my mothers father his name was Thomas but he went as Tony, my fathers father his surname was Williams, but her went as Slater. My father’s grand father his name was Jeremiah but he went as George Bernard. Then there was Ann, who called herself Bessie Rosette Gertrude. They didn’t want to make it easy on us.


  8. This is so good, especially where you describe the ‘glazed over’ look of point 2 – it’s always made me argue point 4! So to see it here, mentioned by someone else, makes me feel less sad and feel more achievements. It’s because of point 4 that I pursued my great grandfather x 3 that nobody knew about. I found out so much by focusing on him for 7 years that I felt I knew him and lived him as a direct grandfather. I even named my son after him! Thank you xx

    1. Jen,

      Thanks for taking the time to leave your comment. I agree that when you see that others have had the me issue. I am so glad that after your years of research that you felt so close to your great grandfather. I think naming your son after him was beautiful tribute to him. Each of my children have. Family name as their middle name and my son (who is 20) and I have already discussed the importance of family names and passing them on the next generation. Hopefully, he will continue and do the same.

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